Interview by Nancy Todd
Jeanie Mark is a traveller and superb writer who quit her life in 2010 to pursue her dreams of world exploration. After nearly two years of travel and experiences, she’s currently living in China, until her next adventure presents itself. Catch her on the Nomadic Chick website, Twitter or Facebook
l. What was your big ‘Aha’ moment when you decided to leave corporate life and pack your bags?
I was passed up for a promotion, that prompted me to realize I didn’t want it in the first place. Then, I had been having problems with a colleague to the point when I decided to go to HR for help. For the record, I wasn’t the only person in the organization having issues with this person. HR didn’t acknowledge the problems, nor any he or she previously had with other co-workers, basically siding with that person. Sounds minor, but that interaction made me realize how these people viewed me. Someone to not respect, someone beaten down and unimportant. Which was how I was feeling for a long time about my life in general. At that point, I decided to re-write my story. The luxury of being a writer is you can. Yet, so many don’t.
2. Why did you decide to start your blog?
I’m not in my twenties any longer. While many of my friends supported me, they still couldn’t relate to my drastic decision. So many were steeped in raising children, paying for cars and mortgages, yet there I was ready to give up all those things. The blog was a diary of sorts and a way to reach people who had the same feelings I did, but were too afraid to voice them.
3. You have a gypsy theme with your graphics, etc. Does this have to do with Spain?
You found me out! Absolutely. I have been fascinated with Spain since my teens. When I heard tales of gypsies in history, how they wandered from place to place, unencumbered with their own rules, yet celebrated life through music and dance – I was hooked on joining them!
4. You are very open with your writing and show your vulnerability. Was it difficult for you to start writing with such honesty knowing your words would be read by thousands?
Frankly, no. I was more worried about someone telling me I was an awful writer, rather than baring my soul for all. I know no other way to write. A fellow writer once told me, “The reason why you’re a good writer, is because you’re a writer with soul.”
5. What other places do you want to travel to in Spain?
Everywhere! This summer I hope to cover more of Andalusia, particularly Cadiz, Seville, Malaga - the centre of gypsy culture. And Madrid hasn’t been done yet.
6. What upcoming projects/trips do you have in mind?
I became fascinated with San Fermin Festival in Pamploma, particularly enceirro (running with the bulls), mainly because in photos and other people’s accounts very few women participate. I seriously pondered running, then thought it would be wonderful to have other women with me – strength in numbers. I posted something in a Facebook group, and one comment stuck with me: “I thought it was illegal for women to run.” That drove me to research this more and want to do it more, in part to dispel these misconceptions and to partake in a legendary fiesta. Thus, Girls Running With Bulls was born. We just launched our website, Twitter and Facebook. We’d love the support and positive vibes as we run beside six charging bulls in July of this year.
Related Spain Scoop: For more interesting people see The Scoop Interviews.